The swimwear edition

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

The municipal sports centre looks like you might imagine in a less-visible Eastern Bloc country in the 1980s: fitness and pleasure are mutually exclusive.

These three girls, though, are not to be deterred. They’ve been in the pool, made some cautious attempts at lengths, none wanting to show herself as too keen or too good, lest the others become suspicious. At this age, life is all about self-doubt as a badge of honour, and if that doubt were revealed to be anything other than totally sincere, the girl in question would be cast out to the lonely wasteland of the teenage pariah. So instead each pushes aside the years of lessons, instead struggling to swim a disjointed breaststroke where her head remains above water, swimming a length or two at a time so they can reconvene near the craven-chested boys, themselves all beach shorts and uncomfortable bluster.

See the girls as they shower, still in swimwear: this one awkward in vest and boxers that only cling, only reveal, and as for that other one in her bikini. Well.

And listen to them: their talk is only of their individual perceived failings and of their companions’ perfection – this girl bemoans her curves whilst praising her friend’s legs, and that girl, the one in the bikini, no spare stomach to be seen, grumbles about fat and meanwhile nods in appreciation of her friend’s comments about this girl’s legs.

They cannot see their flawlessness, smooth skin not yet dimpled and dulled by alcohol and convenience food, bodies still blossoming rather than withering. They’d argue with anyone who said the boys in the pool were struck dumb, and they certainly won’t believe the plump middle-aged woman who tells them to appreciate it all, girls, because it’ll be heading south soon enough.


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